Top-seeded Robert Morris women set for Northeast Conference Tournament
Research is ongoing, but Robert Morris women’s basketball SID Ethan Woy believes the Colonials lead the nation in hair color changes. Whether it is freshman guard Isabella Posset going from a blonde to a brunette or junior center Nneka Ezeigbo’s braids fluctuating between red and orange, RMU keeps onlookers guessing.
But beginning Monday, the only color that interests coach Charlie Buscaglia’s team is gold — as in, the gold of another Northeast Conference championship trophy.
After winning the NEC regular-season title with a 16-2 mark, Robert Morris opens the conference tournament Monday night at 7 by hosting eighth-seeded Fairleigh Dickinson. The Colonials, the top seed, will be looking for their fourth NEC Tournament title — and fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament — in the past six seasons.
“We have a young team. Seventy percent of our roster is freshman and sophomores,” Buscaglia said, “so there’s a lot of things we always have to work on. Tournament time comes, and teams aren’t going to quit, and they’re going to piggyback things other teams do and you have to be ready to handle them again.”
Specifically, Buscaglia said they have to focus on being able to get offensive touches for Ezeigbo (6-foot-2) in the post. Until Thursday’s regular-season finale against St. Francis (Pa.), Ezeigbo had seven straight double-figure scoring games, including a personal-best 30 against LIU Brooklyn.
Buscaglia anticipates teams trying to collapse on Ezeigbo and force the Colonials to score from the perimeter. Posset (Beaver), sophomore Nina Augustin and freshman Esther Castedo have responded well to that challenge, each shooting at least 34 percent from 3-point range.
“Even in the middle of the season, they would say, ‘You guys aren’t freshmen,’ ” Posset said. “It’s time to step up, so I always had that mentality that I’m a freshman but I can’t play like a freshman. As a team, we have to play like we’ve been playing for years.”
Robert Morris (19-10) swept FDU (8-21) in the regular season.
Chuck Curti is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chuck by email at [email protected]b.com or via Twitter .